"Djent" is a sound pioneered by Swedish metal legends Meshuggah. It's a characterized by progressive and technical while also being syncopated and polyrhythmic. The guitars a typically highly distorted with high gain and the majority of the guitar chords are played while being palm-muted.
Youtuber Steve Terreberry explains it best;
After the Burial (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
This band made my Top 2016 records with their latest record Dig Deep. Up until the unexpected passing of Justin Lowe in late 2015, their 2 guitar shredding assault never disappointed me. The band released their first record in 2004, Forging a Future Self (That makes ME feel old). They did just that by creating their own sound and separating themselves from the flood of similar acts that emerged during their formative years. They maintain the signature djent sound while layering in some dizzying guitar solos and great breakdowns that even amongst the occasional chaos, manages to keep your head banging. 13 years later and 5 records into their career, it doesn't look like the band is planning on slowing down anytime soon.
Here are some of my favorite tracks from their discography;
"Berzerker" from the album Rareform. Hell, this entire record is phenomenal.
"My Frailty" from the album In Dreams
Fall in Archaea (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)
Ok, so these guys might not be straight forward "djent" but this is my list and I can put whoever I want on here. The band classifies themselves as "Progressive Deathcore"? I don't know...they sound djenty to me.
I discovered this band when they released their 2011 EP Gatherings. I was hooked instantly. The band is progressive but grooves. There's elements of hardcore and melodic death metal. They did release a full length in December of 2013, Aura Magenta. While it didn't have the same impact as their 2011 EP, it's still a joy to listen to. It doesn't appear that these guys aren't currently active which is a shame. Members of the group have gone on to start new projects or join existing bands.
Here's there EP straight from their BandCamp
The title track "Gatherings" is amongst my favorites.
and here is their full-length taken from their guitarists YouTube page.
Textures (Tillburg, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands)
Formed in 2001, this band is often co-credited as one of the bands that brought the djent sound to the forefront (along with Sikth) before "djent" was given it's proper name. These guys have had almost as many vocalists as Spinal Tap had drummers but the other members, despite a 2010 lineup change, has remained fairly consistent. Their catalog sounds like Megadeth, Pantera, and Meshuggah had an angry child. Fast, aggressive, and melodic while also being extremely progressive and experimental, with some songs over 18 minutes in length. Their newer material (with the 4th vocalist) does include more singing during choruses and more focused song writing.
"Millstone" from the album Drawing Circles
"Ostensibly Impregnable" from the album Polars
"Laments of an Icarus" from the album Silhouettes
The Levitated (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
A fairly new band on the scene having released their first record in 2012 and their Blame EP made my 2016 Honorable Mentions. While I still prefer their first release I give them credit for releasing a solid follow up. Blending deathcore with the djent sound makes for an interesting listen here. There is an occasional "singy-songy" chorus that plagues the genre, but they use it sparingly and usually manage to follow that up with a crushing breakdown. The riffs are brutal yet extremely infectious at the same time.
Here's 5 songs from their 2012 Self-Titled EP
Their new single "Y". The band is offering a free download from their BandCamp
Arusha Accord (Reading, United Kingdom)
Jimminy Christmas!! These guys manage to be all over the place and all together at the same time!
Formed in 2005, this 6-piece band cites Dillinger Escape Plan, Tool, Meshuggah, and Tool as influences and they manage to play all of those styles at the exact same time. With 2 vocalists and one of the tightest rhythm sections I've heard in a looooong time, these guys are bound to impress any of your metal-head friends or music snobs alike. The band has been off the radar since 2011 when they last announced that they were working on another record but the vocalists have since joined other projects.
"Dead to Me" from the album The Echo Verses
Here's the full record (re-release from 2011)
Heart of A Coward (London, Greater-London, United Kingdom)
Formed in 2007 the band didn't really take off until ex-Sylosis frontman, Jamie Graham joined up in 2009. This band is like a "who's who" of the british music scene with ex-members of Enter Shikari, Fellsilent and current band Hacktivist. Their influences are numerous including Pantera, Meshuggah, Slipknot, Alice in Chains, Killswitch Engage, Morbid Angel, Devin Townsend, and the Deftones. They wear these influences on their sleeve for sure but they meld them into their own songwriting without ripping off any styles from the aforementioned bands.
One of the things that makes this band stand out for me is the breakdowns are interesting. They manage to have crushing riffs throughout the entirety of their songs and manage to stay away from the typical "chugga-chugga" breakdowns.
I had a hard time picking just a few songs from their catalog as there are so many great tracks. I chose one from each of their 3 records.
"Shade" from the album Hope and Hindrance
"Psychophant" from the album Severance
"Miscreation" from the album Deliverance
The Safety Fire (London, United Kingdom)
Jeez, another band from the UK? What are they feeding these kids?
Far more progressive than any other band on this list, besides the usual influences we've seen so far they also cite Karnivool, Opeth, and Between the Buried the Buried and Me as well. It can definitely be heard in their "lighter" sound. Instead of cookie monster vocals, the band instead opted for a more dynamic approach. Sean McWeeney (hehehe) manages to effortlessy transition between dynamic screams and soaring melodies adding a great layer to the intricate songwriting.
The band released and EP 2 records but haven't seen any activity since touring in 2014.
"DMB(FDP)" from the album Grind the Ocean
"Huge Hammers" from the album Grind the Ocean
Four Five (Beijing, China)
A recent find for me. I'm limiting this entry to their new material because at first listen, I was not super impressed. As I listened to some of their older material the band seemed to be just another deathcore band. They're trying new things. There's some very impressive guitar solos, well thought out rhythm guitar, and more dynamics in the vocals. More thought is going into the writing. Great band. Give them a listen. Support them so their poor drummer can buy some new cymbals.
"How to Continue My Thought" from the album Through the Darkness
"Through the Darkness" from the album Through the Darkness
Inlayer (Seoul, South Korea)
Another new find! These guys are purely instrumental but it doesn't make their music any less intense or interesting when compared to others on this list. They've only released 5 songs since their inception in 2014.
"Mindjack" is their newest track
"Repress" from the Sequence EP
I don't know too much about these guys and they haven't released anything in 4 years but I still listen to this 2012 EP on a pretty consistent basis. Extremely heavy, technical and melodic. They sound like a heavier Born of Osiris, which is okay with me.
Ocean of Color EP
Vildhjarta (Hudiskvall, Sweden)
I never want to visit Hudiskvall...ever...because apparently it makes people write scary shit like this. Every song sounds like the soundtrack to the end of your life. Ambient guitars, growling vocals, and low-end that will rumble the crap out of your guts. I'll let the music speak for itself this time.
"Omnislash" from their debut EP
"Benblast" from the album Masstaden
Thousands of Evils EP
I hope you all enjoyed your global journey through the djent-lands. If I missed any of your personal favorites list them below. I'm always looking for new music.